First-year students from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business are setting out today toward 81 companies spread across 24 countries as part of the school’s Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAPs). Every spring, the school’s 450 or so first-year MBAs take part in this core requirement, which the school touts as one of the most intensive action-based learning programs of its kind.
The students are assigned to companies for seven-week stints, during which time they learn first hand as part of everything from new product launches to digital banking. Participating companies include Microsoft, Amazon and Sustainable Harvest, among many others. Roughly half of the projects are international.
“We believe that learning by doing is instrumental to preparing students for the business challenges they will face in their careers,” Ross School Dean Alison Davis-Blake said in a statement.
“Our MBA students benefit from working side by side with executives and faculty to use what they’ve learned in the classroom to develop creative, cost-effective solutions to pressing business problems,” she continued, adding that Ross believes the real-world experience gives them a head start in the job market and in their careers.
Ross students have completed more than 1,700 projects in 78 countries for more than 800 organizations since the MAP program launched in 1992. In recent years, students have helped Domino’s Pizza reduce its delivery times, provided recommendations to Belcorp on how to improve inventory procedures and helped Delphi Automotive PLC improve its budget development process.
Some of this year’s MAP students will head to Mongolia for the first time in the program’s history. Other projects will take students to Beijing, Brazil, New York, Seattle and Zambia.
“MAP stretches and challenges students,” Valerie Suslow, senior associate dean for MBA programs at Ross, said in a statement. “It provides them with a potent learning experience that incorporates diverse group dynamics, cultural awareness, and self-leadership — all while staying on task to provide actionable recommendations for companies and organizations.”
The questions asked were easy and normal. It went on for around 30 minutes or so.
1. Walk me through your resume
2. What are your career goals? Why do you want to do an MBA?
3. What has been the biggest achievement in your life?
4. What is your management style?
5. Describe a time when you failed in a team.
6. What do you think are your weaknesses?
7. Any questions you would like to ask?
Overall the interview went well.
Because it’s the time of year when applicants aiming for Fall 2015 intake are just beginning to think about the admissions process, we wanted to focus today on one element of the application that candidates often underestimate: extracurricular activities.
In order to understand why this category is important, candidates should keep in mind that the adcom is responsible for crafting a dynamic class each year. The aim is to admit individuals who will support a vibrant campus community and step into leadership positions. In other words, as admissions officers consider each applicant, they ask themselves “what’s in it for our school?” An applicant who has previously demonstrated a talent for writing, for example, by contributing to a nonprofit’s newsletter, will really catch the adcom’s attention if she also expresses her intent to contribute to a specific publication on campus.
Volunteering is of course a great way to expand one’s extracurricular involvement. However, many applicants participate in the occasional fundraising walk or an annual corporate outreach day; those who demonstrate ongoing involvement in one cause or organization will be of special interest to the admissions committee, especially if it is related to their current or future career. A candidate who has contributed over a longer period is likely to have developed his or her responsibilities beyond ladling soup or stuffing envelopes. What’s more, this can be a particularly important opportunity for applicants who are currently living and working outside of their home countries; for example, an Indian applicant who works and volunteers in Africa will stand out as being particularly engaged and well adapted to his or her foreign environment.
Candidates who are older or younger than the average applicant should recognize that their extracurricular involvement is particularly important. A younger applicant who lacks leadership responsibilities at work might demonstrate his talent for motivating others outside of the office. Meanwhile, older applicants can use their extracurricular involvement to reassure the adcom that, despite family responsibilities or distance in age from one’s classmates, the broader life of the community remains important to them.
Lastly, applicants will have a much easier time writing their application essays if they have a variety of experiences from which to draw. While applicants can certainly respond to most essay prompts by reflecting on their professional experiences, relying exclusively on one’s work is a mistake. With each essay, the applicant should aim to share a different side of him or herself—submitting five essays about electrical engineering or investment banking is not the most effective way to do this.
We hope that this sheds some light on the opportunities and value that activities outside of work provide with respect to one’s b-school candidacy and applications. Should you find that area of your application lacking upon reflection, the good news is that there’s still plenty of time to address this before the deadlines. Whether that means volunteering your professional services to a local nonprofit, joining a community mentoring organization or brushing up on your competitive square dancing, Class of 2016 aspirants should aim to make this an especially active and productive spring and summer!
Get in touch with our team for a free assessment of your candidacy as the admissions season begins.
- Admissions Tip: Applying to Business School as a Younger Applicant (clearadmit.com)
I am currently an American living internationally, so my interview was abroad with a local alumnus who graduated about 11 years ago. It was in the middle of downtown at his office. He hadn’t done interviews for a few years and it kind of showed. He seemed like he had read my resume but didn’t have many questions prepared so it seemed a bit rambly. But, he was very polite and made me feel like he was on my side.
1. Why did you move abroad?
2. What accomplishment on your resume are you most proud of?
3. What did you do at your company and what are you most proud of accomplishing? (Although I only answered what I did before he asked me another question)
4. What would you do differently than your managers at that company if you ran the business unit? (Good question!)
5. What do you think your managers would say about you?
6. You worked for your company in many roles; were they all in the same part of the company?
8. Why Haas?
9. Why now?
10. How can you contribute to the Haas community?
11. You led teams with people with way more experience than you. How did you do it?
12. What if you couldn’t resolve a problem in your team?
13. Have you ever disagreed with your manager? If so, what did you do?
14. He asked about the Bay Area and if I’d visited campus.
15. Towards the end he came back to why I had moved abroad. He said that Haas was curious about it so it sounded like his job in the interview was to kind of test this aspect of my application.
There wasn’t much conversation before or during the interview so I tried to drag some info out of him at the end via a few questions.
I thought the interview went great overall but perhaps not perfectly. It was nice to hear from an alum who had spent some time using his MBA, because he had a unique perspective.
Students at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business are gearing up to host the 18th annual Women in Leadership Conference next week, focused around the theme of “Design Your Future,” the school announced.
Tech leaders from Synopsus, Lending Club and Kaiser Permanente will take part in the March 15th event, which is the longest-running, student-organized conference in the school’s history. This year’s co-chairs are Stephanie Curran, MBA 14, and Lauren Fernandez, also MBA 14.
The deadlines for INSEAD’s MBA program beginning in January 2015 are now available online. The three deadlines are as follows:
Deadline: March 21, 2014
Interview Decision Notification: April 25, 2014
Final Decision Notification: June 6, 2014
Deadline: May 28, 2014
Interview Decision Notification: June 27, 2014
Final Decision Notification: August 8, 2014
Deadline: July 25, 2014
Interview Decision Notification: September 5, 2014
Final Decision Notification: October 10, 2014
Applicants should note that applications must be submitted by 11:59PM Central European Time on the day of the deadline. For more information, visit INSEAD’s admissions website.
1. Healthcare portion
I interviewed for the health care major, which involves an interview with the director of the program. I already have a healthcare background so we just discussed my previous steps in more detail and my motivations going forward. It was a logical conversation. It wasn’t explicitly told to me, but I get the feeling that post-MBA job placement marketability is important to them (does your background/profile match with the type of jobs you’re trying to get?)
2. Non-healthcare portion (Team-based discussion)
The team-based discussion was pretty anticlimactic and still baffling to me on its utility. Two 2nd year students essentially just watch 4-6 of you talk about your ideas and see how you move the discussion along over 35 minutes to a final proposition. From my group, 2 of the 6 had long, complicated ideas that weren’t actually bad, but too much for the time limit we had. Most importantly, they wasted significant time on repeating things and slowing us down. It doesn’t take 2-3 minutes to get across that you agree on a minor point. Of the 4 left over (which includes me), I’d say that each of us took charge at different points – I really liked the others simply because they were rational and didn’t waste their words. They also had simple and good ideas that were easier to come up with content for. Eventually, we had a vote and scrambled in the last 5 minutes to organize some nuts and bolts on one of those ideas. For our group, we weren’t overly polite with each other – many of us were worried about the time going by, so we cut each other off plenty of times. I’m not sure if they marked us down for that, but you could rationalize it either way I suppose. I will say that, while everyone was positive, we didn’t fall into the trap of burning 35 minutes of just complimenting each other’s ideas and trying to combine them all into one.
3. Aftermath interview
The 10-15 min conversation with one of the two observers after the team-based discussion was pretty basic. I was asked to assess the discussion, talk about whether that represents my behavior, and say who I would want and NOT want on my team. Also, I was asked if I wanted to reiterate any last points on my application for admissions. Then, I asked the interviewers about their Wharton experiences.
Comments: For the non-healthcare applicants, I felt that the team-based discussion was an odd way to select out the final class. I was surprised regular candidates who made the trip from out of town trip didn’t meet with an actual adult/AdCom member. I think over 90% of the “assessing” really comes from the observing, and the follow-up is just to answer any last questions you may have and understand if there was a very rare circumstance in which your behavior was not representative.
Interview duration was roughly 2 hours, of which I was being interviewed for between 60-70 minutes.
-Tell me about yourself
-Example of your leadership
-Strengths/Weaknesses from perspective of a friend
-Alternative short-term career goals
Was also presented with a series of case-type questions, including questions related to my response to difficult group members (multiple follow-ups here), and what leadership traits I’d target for a start-up firm and for a more mature organization.
Presentation: I was given 5 min to prepare and 5 min to present. I was given a list of 5 topics and asked to choose. Key is to present a structured format (intro, reason 1, reason 2, reason 3, conclusion) and to work in an example or two. I was nervous about this portion, but it went well.
My interviewer asked for my resume! I couldn’t tell whether he had reviewed my application prior to my arrival, which surprised me.
My interviewer discussed both the challenges and benefits of LBS. As an American, he seemed intent on presenting the challenges (lack of US network/brand recognition, cost relative to local schools) and gauging my reaction.
Overall, the interview was fairly conversational but rigorous. The format prevents many “rehearsed” answers and will require you to think on your feet.
My advice would echo that of many others: 1) Know your story frontwards and backwards 2) Know “why LBS” in great detail, and 3) Be prepared to discuss teamwork and leadership AT LENGTH
For me, I was nervous about all the random potential questions I could be asked. I prepared for a lot of them, but my interview was mostly (90%) resume-related topics.
Not in sequential order…
1. Why don’t you take 2 minutes to introduce yourself.
2. What was it like going through this highlighted situation on your resume? (lots of back and forth)
3. Challenge at current job.
4. What could you have done better at previous job?
5. How did you get these positions?
6. What is the biggest misperception people have about you when first meeting you?
7. Why MBA?
8. Anything else with these 2 minutes left you’d like to add? (time went by quickly, and I didn’t think I would actually get asked this)
9. What were your school / job options at different stages
Questions other people had:
11. Do you read business news? What’s a story that interested you?
12. What’s a company outside your industry that you admire?
Overall, no matter my outcome, I have to give HBS props on the brevity of the whole process. Simple application, only 1 optional essay, and a relevant interview. Also, the whole day has events for candidates who have the time. The home base room seems rather crazy with batches going in and out for their interview slot, but they manage to handle it in an organized fashion. Food and drinks are also provided and everyone is cordial.
Most questions in my LBS interview were similar to the ones you find here. Some that stood out were:
1. Did you ever take a risk?
2. Did you ever have to convince someone?
Because I’m interested in consulting, my interviewer did an extra case on this. It was a typical consulting interview case, but shorter (10minutes). My interviewer presented a situation in which sales were not as expected, and I had to ask him questions in order to find out what the reasons for this could be. The structure of my reasoning and the questions I asked were what was important. The LBS case was on strategy implementation.
The whole interview took about 1.45 hours.